The easiest way to define and recognise plagiarism on Iwaku is the act of copying content written by another word for word and publishing it as their own. However, it can also come in much more nuanced forms. Plagiarism on Iwaku commonly comes in two flavours:
- Content is lifted from another source off-Iwaku.
- Content is lifted from another member on Iwaku.
While it is generally accepted that Westeros is the creation of G.R.R.M. Martins and part of the Game of Thrones universe, it is important to note that copy/pasting excerpts from Wikipedia, or IMDB still falls under plagiarism. Even with already established content, members are expected to write their own text with a credit to the original source. A simple link to the page from where the text is lifted won't do. Texts need to be written in your own words.
Sometimes it happens that original ideas get abandoned, or that members come together for an idea and it gets dropped. In that case, permission is needed in order to use the ideas developed, whether that happened on-site or off-site. When (collaborative) ideas get re-used members are encouraged to paraphrase, reword, and rework the ideas into their own words. Lifting texts word-for-word is highly frowned down upon, even if portions are partly to your credit.
Sometimes paraphrasing, rewording, reworking ideas isn't enough. This is especially the case when the content contains collaborative works from multiple members and permission was not given. In that case, the content of the works are compared to each other, comparing identifiable markers to one another to see how closely they still relate. Simply changing names or terms will often not pass the test (rewording). Entirely reworking the idea as your own unique content will often pass the test, depending on the degree in which this is done.
- Paraphrasing: is the act where you actively engage with the original text and write it into your own words while maintaining the essence of the original text.
- Rewording: means replacing words with different words (often synonyms) or swapping phrases so that the essence might remain the same, but the text doesn't read the same at a first glance.
- Reworking: means that you take the source as inspiration rather than source material as you adapt the idea not only into your own words but make it your own.
While Iwaku is primarily a roleplaying and writing site, the rules also apply for the use of images. While it is generally assumed that none of the images used are created by the member themselves, it can be understandably upsetting for an artist to see their work recycled. Reaching out by filling out a Contact Form can help sort this out. It should be noted that only requests by the artist themselves will be taken into consideration. Proxy messages will not be treated.
The bottom line here is to always use texts written by yourself, make sure you have permission to use the ideas of another or else re-work it as your own. If you can't get permission (because the member has disappeared or because the source material is part of fandom-content) be sure to give credit where it is due.